When considering a move out of the United States, families are naturally concerned about their child(ren)’s education. International homeschooling can be a simple and effective solution for the transition period and beyond. Whether you headed out of the country because of a military assignment, a new job, a crisis, as a missionary, or just because you want to see more of the world, homeschooling abroad offers the reliability of a curriculum of your own choice as well as the flexibility to adapt your child’s learning to your unique situation and location.
To help, Time4Learning has pulled together information that will guide you on topics such as:
- How to Start Homeschooling Abroad
- International Homeschooling Tips
- Online Resources for Families Homeschooling Overseas
- Time4Learning Curriculum for Families Homeschooling Abroad
- FAQ About International Homeschooling
This information should by no means be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to interpret and understand the laws that you will be homeschooling under.
How To Start Homeschooling Abroad
Even if you are already homeschooling in the U.S., it’s normal to feel nervous about handling your child’s education in a wholly new country. As with anything, research and planning ahead of time will make the transition to homeschooling in your new country of residence much smoother. Some of your first steps toward homeschooling as an expat should be:
- Review the international homeschooling laws for the country you will be moving to. For example, homeschooling in Germany is illegal unless you are based there as military personnel.
- Learn as much as you can about your living situation so you will know if an online curriculum will be feasible or if you will need to bring books and materials with you.
- Consider your overall homeschool goals for this time. Is it more important to you that your child experiences the culture of the country you’ll be visiting or that he/she be prepared, educationally, for a return to U.S. schools?
- Choose the best homeschool curriculum based on your planned homeschool style, budget, how often you’ll be traveling, and educational standards.
- If you are currently living in the U.S., you’ll want to formally withdraw your child(ren) from their current school (if attending).
International Homeschooling Tips
A move to another country is an exciting adventure; it is also stressful. Add in the concerns you have about homeschooling in a new country, and you have a recipe for becoming completely overwhelmed. Here are some tips that will help you feel more comfortable and confident as you navigate these brand new waters.
- Remember that you are not alone. Thousands of families are successfully homeschooling while living abroad and many have written blogs about their experience, so take some time to read about how others have successfully made the transition.
- Don’t put too much educational pressure on yourself or your children during the move itself; there will be plenty of time to catch up once you are settled.
- Homeschooling while traveling the world means truly taking advantage of all the places you visit. Don’t forget that home education offers you the flexibility to thoroughly explore and experience local culture, history, and nature.
- The online offerings from libraries in the U.S. can be an always-accessible educational tool to tap into. Many offer free ebooks to check out and some even offer free tutoring.
- Try not to tie yourself to one homeschooling style or schedule. Your methods and even some of your goals will change over time, depending on your circumstances, your child’s interests, and your lifestyle. Go with the flow!
- If you are planning to put your child back in school when you return to the U.S., keep abreast of the educational standards and curriculum that is followed in your home state to make sure your homeschooler won’t have any major gaps in their learning.
- Take all the opportunities you have to explore your new home country (and even surrounding countries) as a family. Roadschooling turns homeschoolers into experiential learners.
- Find a supportive homeschool community. If there isn’t a homeschool group in the base or area where you are moving to, seek out online homeschool groups specifically geared to expats.
- If they are old enough, have your homeschooler keep a diary or blog of their experiences while abroad. Not only will this build writing skills but it will be a true lifelong keepsake.
Online Resources For Families Homeschooling Overseas
If you will have consistent internet access in the area where you are moving, there is no limit to the resources that can enhance your homeschool experience. Encourage your child’s curiosity by having them use search engines or asking virtual assistants such as Alexa/Siri questions about the things they see on their travels. Wondering “How many spiders are there in Australia?” or “How old are the Mayan ruins?” can lead your child down a path of discovery and even trigger a lifelong passion.
Here are some other great resources that can support your international homeschooling online:
- If you’ll be moving to a country that speaks one or more languages that aren’t native to you, then online language learning will help you transition to becoming a bilingual family.
- Remind your homeschooler what an amazing world we live in with the games, videos, and nature features at National Geographic Kids.
- Experiencing a harsh summer or winter in your new home? Take some virtual field trips at Discovery Education.
- Make learning your math facts feel like playing a video game when you sign up for the Time4MathFacts fluency program (included in a Time4Learning subscription).
- For times when internet access may not be available, keep a ready supply of educational printables that target specific skills your elementary homeschooler needs practice in.
- When you want to turn your attention back to the U.S. in your homeschool, you’ll appreciate these state unit studies and free printable maps.
- PBS Kids is a consistent source of quality, online games, activities, and learning resources on everything from engineering to world cultures and much more.
Time4Learning Curriculum For Families Homeschooling Abroad
When your focus turns to finding an international homeschool curriculum that will meet your family’s educational goals and lifestyle, you need a program that is comprehensive but also adaptable. Time4Learning can be the ideal choice for homeschoolers who are looking for award-winning educational content in an affordable and flexible online subscription model.
Not only does Time4Learning’s PreK-12 curriculum meet rigorous educational standards, but our low-stress program requires no extra storage space because all of the thousands of lessons, activities and assessments can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.
Other advantages of Time4Learning for international families homeschooling online include:
- Students get individual logins and work on their own schedule and pace
- Versatile delivery that works equally well as a comprehensive homeschool curriculum or as an educational enrichment tool
- A platform that appeals to children of different learning styles and preferences
- Multimedia lessons that feel more like video games, offering a fun way to present difficult concepts
- Automated lesson-planning and recordkeeping is taken care of by Time4Learning so parents can focus on more important things
- Access to more than one grade level of material in case children are working at different levels in different subjects
- Affordable membership backed by a 14-day money-back guarantee. You can start, stop, or pause your membership at any time without penalty.
Time4Learning is flexible enough to be used as you need it. Your subscription provides you with an entire year’s worth of material that can be navigated as you see fit. Your student can work sequentially through his/her grade level, or you can pick and choose lessons that tie in with your child’s current interests or even places you are traveling to. The possibilities are as endless as the road ahead of you.
FAQs About Homeschooling Overseas
- In which countries is homeschooling illegal?
Even military homeschoolers have to follow the legal requirements of the host nation, state, commonwealth, territory, or possession where they are stationed. So it is important to research the legality of homeschooling in any country you may be moving to. Some countries where homeschooling has been outlawed include Germany, Sierra Leone, Uruguay, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Hungary, and the Netherlands.
- How do you handle socialization in a new country?
Living in a new country–especially if there are language barriers–intensifies concerns about finding social outlets for yourself and your children. If there aren’t many extracurricular activities available to you, you might try inventing the wheel. Go ahead and create what you are looking for: a book club, a weekly park day, maybe even a language study group where the kids can practice talking with one another.
- Isn’t it better to help your child acclimate to a new country by enrolling in their schools?
It’s very true that your child will get a more thorough introduction to the culture of your new home country by attending school with the native population. But adapting to a new country and a new school isn’t for every child/teen. Some students can be completely overwhelmed by trying to get an education while also trying to figure out how to navigate a foreign school and school-mates. Take your child’s individual personality and preferences into consideration when making this critical decision.
- Do I need an accredited curriculum?
Accreditation is always tied to a specific country, so unless you have a specific reason for needing to have an accredited curriculum (e.g., you will eventually be going back to a private school that requires proof of accredited learning), then your choice of international homeschooling programs is completely up to you.